This is such a beautiful, sweet and inspiring story. Daine’s strength and moxie shine through as she fights to help rescue her friends and extended family. The vividness of the world in which she places herself and her strength of character just shine from the pages as the depth of danger in which Daine and Numair find themselves deepens.
Tamora Pierce is one of the first authors I truly became obsessed with. Her books are the first I can remember just devouring and spending hours reading at a time. So, any book of hers is going to get a good review from me. And, The Immortals Quartet is probably one of my favourite Tortall stories. Probably because there is a heavy emphasis on the natural world and animals.
Arobynn’s trap is drawn so neatly in The Assassin and the Empire, and honestly, it will make you cry. His petty feelings of ownership over a girl at least half his age lead to a complete destruction of two peoples’ worlds. Although I knew that it was coming, having read the first three Throne of Glass books, I was still left with a pit of despair sitting deep in my gut. A feeling of hurt at the pain and suffering that a sixteen-year-old girl suffered at the hands of the man who was supposed to be her mentor and saviour.
Although for me, this story was mostly about the beginning of Celaena’s change to Aelin, it also finally gave an insight into just why Celaena and Sam became an item. Although his death and their love is a driving factor for much that she does, I never quite understood what a reportedly sweet man could be doing falling head over heels for a thorny, indulged assassin. Yet, finally, with The Assassin and the Underworld, this made sense.
This, by far, is my favourite of the five prequel stories in The Assassin's Blade. The idea of a society of assassin’s based out in the middle of the desert is very poetic and the picture that Maas paints of the landscape in which Celaena finds herself is so tranquil and isolatingly beautiful. Her quick friendship with Ansel is another echo of this isolation – a great deal of symbolism for Celaena’s life up until this point. She is isolated and beautiful, unable to open herself to the hearts of others.
Although The Assassin and the Healer is a short story between Celaena’s adventures (literally), it helps to further her character development and cast shadows across her relationship with Arobynn. Her willingness to do what is right, and even to suffer the punishment for this (as she is now doing after her actions in The Assassin and the Pirate Lord) shine throughout the story. Even amidst the loathing and self-righteousness she feels at her self-imposed exile.
This short story shows two aspects to Celaena as such was before the beginning of Throne of Glass. And, whilst they are so at odds with one another, they are a great insight into the woman she slowly becomes throughout the rest of the Throne of Glass series. The spoilt, petulant child that she is at the beginning of the series is completely offset by the even more self-centred and indulged child that she is in this first prequel.
Black Lament had a very drastic change in tone to the first three Black Wings stories. And honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, it showed an amazing ability to have a changing and dynamic character; on the other, I love Maddy Black for her sass, sarcasm and wit, all of which were tainted by a black halo of depression. When they were present. However, this change in the general ambiance of the tale really should have been obvious from the title of the novel.
The end of this story was one of the most insanely powerful stories that I have read in a long time – it both made me want to cry and whoop for joy. Maddy’s constantly dramatic tale gets more intense with each book in the Black Wings series, and I’m not really sure how it can get any more potent than Black Howl. I read the entire book in about three hours – it was just IMPOSSIBLE to put down! And even four hours after finishing the last page, my head is still spinning and twirling with the tale I just read.
The nature versus nurture debate has fascinated me ever since I first heard of it in my first year of University. Is it our genetics which define who we will be, or is it the way in which we are bought up? Personally, I’ve always believed that it is a mix of the two, but the discussion and the extent to which aspect of ourselves has the most impact is always an interesting one. One which Gerritsen explores beautifully through Maura Isle’s parentage in Body Double.